By Mike Torpey on 2017-11-19 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6
IT doesn't cost any more to make something pretty.
Smart words uttered from the mouth of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons on the design philosophy of his company.
Well if there's one attribute that characterises the Big Cat, it's cool, elegant, looks - and the car leading the way as the brand's flagship model is positively sizzling with style.
The XJ is Jaguar's pinnacle saloon car, boasting a blend of cutting-edge technology and sporty dynamics.
It may not, as Jaguar suggests, redefine what a luxury car should be, but it's certainly stretching the boundaries - no question about it, this is the smartest looking XJ yet.
Prices start at £58,745 for a3.0 V6 diesel Luxury model rising to a hefty £100,250 for the flagship 510ps V8 petrol Autobiography long wheelbase variant.
Sitting somewhere in between the two is the tested 3.0-litre V6 R-Sport, one of two new trim grades for the XJ, at £71,295.
It really looks the part too with tastefully flared side sills, side power vents and a rear spoiler while there's a gloss black grille mesh plus 20-inch wheels.
It isn't just about film star looks though. The XJ diesel is a terrific car to drive - agile, fluid and beautifully damped while the V6 engine purrs contentedly through the eight-speed auto gearbox until you deliver some heavy manners, at which point it bares its teeth, surging from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds.
Equally at home around suburban lanes as it is on the motorway, there's also the bonus of 48 miles per gallon - for the considerate driver at least.
Inside, there's comfort and opulence aplenty up front in a tastefully appointed cabin in which a leather-clad dashboard houses the technology and infotainment systems.
The perforated leather sports seats seem to mould themselves to the contours of your body and the ideal setting can then be stored in the car's memory bank.
In fact the only area in which the XJ falls short is rear accommodation in standard wheelbase versions, where a perched position coupled with a wide transmission tunnel makes things uncomfortable for a centre rear passenger.
That said, you can cram plenty of gear in the lengthy if shallow boot.
And in addition to a slick, easy-to-use infotainment set-up plus sat-nav, DAB radio and digital TV, you also get a pin-sharp 825W Meridian Surround audio system.
Standard kit is comprehensive as you would imagine and safety gear includes the likes of lane keep-assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian contact sensing and reverse traffic detection.
Jaguar XJ 3.0 V6 R-Sport
Mechanical: 300ps, 2,993cc V6 diesel engine driving rear wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.9
Insurance Group: 50
C02 emissions: 155g/km
Bik rating: 33%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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